As a member of the European Parliament for the Swedish Pirate Party, I was very happy to hear British prime minister David Cameron announce that Britain will have a referendum on its EU membership, probably some time around 2017. This is excellent news.
In practice, this means that Cameron has told the EU that it has until 2017 to shape up and get its act together, if they want to keep Britain as a member.
If the referendum was held today, with the EU in the shape it is, the UK citizens would almost certainly say no to remaining members. If the EU wants to avoid falling apart with Britain leading the way towards general EU disintegration, the EU must quickly reform itself into something that has a chance of being attractive to the citizens, including those in the UK.
This opens a window of opportunity to reform the EU in the direction that we in the Swedish Pirate Party are demanding in our political platform. We want a transparent and democratic EU that only does the things that the citizens and member states agree need to be done on the European level, instead of trying to meddle with everything.
The EU today suffers from a lack of both transparency and democratic accountability. The important decisions are taken by lobbyists and unelected civil servants behind closed doors.
The ACTA negotiations were a perfect example of this lack of transparency, but most issues handled by the EU follow a similar pattern. The IPRED directive, longer copyright terms for musical recordings, data retention, and various EU Commission initiatives for either three-strikes or internet censorship or both.
Most of the things that we Pirates are fighting against in our daily political work come from Brussels and the EU. This is no coincidence.
All the new laws that pamper to various rich and influential special interests at the expense of ordinary citizens are the result of this structural problem in the EU. In Brussels, the industry interests represented by various lobbyists almost always carry more weight than the interest of ordinary citizens.
We Pirates should and will continue to work for more transparency within the current framework, but this will not be enough to solve the fundamental problems with the EU.
The Lisbon Treaty was rammed down the throats of the citizens, against their will and despite clear no votes in several referendums. The EU elite got it through in the end, but it should be obvious to everybody that it’s the end of the road when it comes to pushing ahead towards the superstate against the will of the people.
We need a new basic treaty for the EU to replace the undemocratic Lisbon Treaty, and the mess of other treaties that serve as the EU’s legal basis today. And this time it shouldn’t be a Treaty drafted by the elite behind closed doors and then presented on a ”take it or take it” basis to the citizens. This time it must be a treaty that the majority of citizens in Europe are prepared to support in a Europe-wide referendum.
In an interview with the Pirate Times, UK Pirate Party leader Loz Kaye describes the UK Pirate Party’s views on the EU:
I think it’s fair to say many of our members have quite an internationalist outlook. Like any UK party (perhaps apart from UKIP!) there are a range of views, and of course we encourage debate. Even so, our crowd sourced manifesto which was overwhelmingly adopoted by our members is clear. Our vision for the EU is based on our fundamental principles.
It’s important that the EU increase its level of transparency and openness, and this should inform the EU’s politics, organisation and administration. The union should be accountable to its members and citizens, the Council should be properly open to scrutiny by national parliaments, and there should be a fundamental rebalance to elected representatives.
This is very similar to what the Swedish Pirate Party is saying from our perspective. We want to see an EU that is based on transparency and openness and is accountable to its citizens. This would be a very different EU from the one we have today, so a new basic Treaty is needed.
Thanks to Mr. Cameron’s decision to let UK citizens have their say about the EU in 2017, there is now a real possibility that we can build the political momentum to get a new EU Treaty that puts the EU under democratic control by the citizens.
This is an opportunity that we must seize.